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Social Start Ups Develop Ideas with Impact at the SAP AppHaus Heidelberg

The Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) group at SAP Walldorf, following its own vision to help the world run better and improving people’s lives, organized a startup workshop on June 12 to support the development of the 10 most promising ideas within the Rhine-Neckar-region. The initiative was organized in cooperation with SAP User Experience and UX Design Services and took place at the SAP AppHaus Heidelberg.

As Gabriele Hartman, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility MEE, explained, nowadays, Berlin can be called the center for social startups in Germany, but this city shouldn’t be the only one to remember when it comes to social start-up initiatives. Therefore, the SAP CSR group is working hard to discover, recognize and support social ideas (with potential) in the Rhine-Neckar region, with the aim to create a regional hub for social entrepreneurship.


The workshop comprised social ideas, like facilitating full social integration of young children with foreign background, developing a method for the simplification of administrative issues for people with disabilities or language/comprehension problems, or creating local share shops as local hubs of lending and borrowing among neighbors. All ideas benefited from a day prepared by the SAP UX Design Services with a full agenda based on the Design Thinking methodology. Every idea was supported by a multidisciplinary team to facilitate the creative process by providing different views and guided by an experienced Design Thinking coach.

Although the main focus of the day was the further development of social ideas, the agenda of the day was enriched by discussions about the experience and inspiration of professionals from different areas: the speakers advised the social entrepreneurs with their expertise in areas like understanding customers and how to develop empathy. Furthermore, the speakers referred to Walt Disney’s creative techniques used to build what is now the giant Disney Media Group, in order to explore ideas from different perspectives and creative points of view. Additionally, the discussion showed what architects take into account when creating prototypes, like environment, costs, aim of the building and location, and went on focusing on the best way to present own ideas, so that the audience could be reached in a clear way, without losing the personal style.


The day finished with the presentations of prototypes, like the rest area designed to ensure that bus and truck drivers can rest in an adequate way and have the possibility to eat healthy food at low costs while working, or the city’s recreational areas (see picture above) full of activities to promote citizens quality of life and ensure well-being. Furthermore, discussions illustrated in which direction the ideas could be moved forward. The final feedback round endorsed with success of the event, where the entrepreneurs confirmed the step forward given in the development of their ideas. Besides that, further steps, like the possibility to get support from SAP to continue the idea development were discussed and suggested.

Our team from the Design and Co-Innovation Center at the SAP AppHaus Heidelberg, was happy to prepare and host this event, and help the startup founders to move a step forward. We wish them all the best for the further development of their social ideas!

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